Jonathan Larson (Book, Music & Lyrics)
Hillbarn Theatre & Conservatory
In January 1996, onto a Broadway stage burst a sexy, soaring musical daring to bestow unforgettable faces and personalities to seven artists struggling to survive not only their 1989, East Village poverty, but also the plague of AIDS/HIV that appeared ready to wipe out an entire generation. Almost three decades later, Jonathan Larson’s Rent is no less relevant and timely than when it won multiple Tonys in 1996 (including Best Musical), as witnessed by the gripping, electrifying, magnificently directed and performed production now being staged by Hillbarn Theatre & Conservatory. The characters and their stories that are largely based on Puccini’s 1896 opera La bohème still bring both laughter and tears in great quantity as they did in ’96; but in February 2024, the musical is particularly apropos.
Lines like “How do you document real life when real life is getting more like fiction each day?” sound sadly too current. Scenes of wandering homeless folks wrapped in ragged blankets on dirty, drug-laden streets mirror the scenes too often seen in today’s Bay Area cities large and small. The threat of young artists losing their funky, warehouse abode is right off the headlines of today’s San Francisco Chronicle. The timing for this powerfully presented Hillbarn production of Rent is eerily perfect.
Please continue to Talkin’Broadway to read the rest of my review.
Rating: 5 E
Rent continues through February 25, 2024, in production by Hillbarn Theatre & Conservatory, 1285 East Hillsdale Blvd., Foster City, CA. Tickets are available online at www.hillbarntheatre.org or by contacting directly the box office by emailing email@example.com or by calling 650-349-6411.
A Theatre Eddys Best Bet Production
Photo Credit: Tracy Martin